WOVEN – 21st Century Communication

We have been talking in class this week about 21st century communications and what that looks like. I introduced new students to the acronym WOVEN which I heard about from Dr. Rebecca Burnett. She graciously allowed me to share WOVEN with my colleagues who were as enthusiastic as I was to use it as part of the fabric of our introductory communication course.

Briefly, WOVEN stands for the Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Non-verbal elements that make up modern communication. I used it as an icebreaking breakout discussion in class, and it got students discussing how they used these elements (or didn’t) and helped me identify gaps in how they perceived communications (it’s not just about the 5 paragraph essay anymore). 

Then…and this is the exciting part…we workshopped our way through the start of an assignment to design an infographic that incorporated key ideas and practical applications of WOVEN. This got students reflecting on what we discussed in class, and expanding on how they saw themselves using these varied communications techniques both at college and in their chosen careers. 

Students are working on these over the week. They seem intrigued by the challenge…especially those who came in dreading a “Writing Class”. I love that the assignment is a practical application reinforcing what we learned. 

I am excited to see the results….stay tuned. 



For some years now, one of the book clubs I belong to has kicked off our meeting with a round table where we each contribute one word that sums up how we feel that day, hour, moment. It’s an act of clarity to focus in on one single word, clarity that pushes you to prioritize and seek out the one overarching emotion. 

One of the first exercises I do in communications class each semester is a 6 Word Challenge with new students. Same idea….it forces a clarity of thought, and reinforces both strong word choices and the power of simplicity.

And so I’m fascinated by the #oneword movement I’ve seen on Social media as 2015 ends and 2016 begins. Educators specially seem keen to embrace the challenge of finding that single word that will allow them to focus their energies in the year ahead.

It took me some time. There are many great words I wanted to choose: creativity, connect, question, dream topping the list. But I settled on this one.  

Believe – that change is possible and positive

Believe – that people want to be empassioned and engaged

Believe – that the way forward is hopeful

Believe – that we each have the power to make a difference to the world